141 students from the south-eastern community of Mayaro have been given a jump start through online training workshops sponsored by bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) during the month of August.
Through collaborations with Business Clinic Ltd. and tertiary students from bpTT’s own Brighter Prospects scholarship programme, the energy company supported the delivery of two transformative online learning vacation camps that have given students an edge heading into the new school term.
Business Clinic focused on ‘raising a CEO’ and Brighter Prospects students introduced young people to Spanish and French. Both camps were delivered online.
Ryan Chaitram, communications and advocacy manager, bpTT, explained the benefits of the online training, “We have always made substantial investments in young people, especially in the area of education. The pandemic catalysed changes to the learning environment and so we had to adapt our programmes as well. We started with providing digital learning devices to students and now we are following up with virtual training opportunities. These workshops are very comprehensive and transformative, and the students who took up these opportunities will go back to school with a significant advantage and extra confidence. By empowering them, we are empowering a better future.”
Business Clinic Ltd. facilitated a three-week workshop entitled ‘Raising a Chief Executive Officer’ that was delivered under its Life skills, Entrepreneurship And Problem solving (LEAP) banner. As the only full-service business consultancy to work with ages 10 and up, this represents a continuity of Business Clinic’s collaboration with bpTT, having delivered a LEAP camp at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre in 2019.
The ‘Raising a CEO’ workshop gave an expansive and immersive experience to 25 secondary students ranging from Form One to Four. As a virtual camp, it used digital tools to engage participants and teach the fundamentals of turning an idea into a successful venture. They also practised the use of MS Office, the Google Suite and utilised the ‘I Am An Entrepreneur’ LEAP workbook. A highlight of the workshop were inspirational conversations with business leaders including former Managing Director and CEO of Methanex Trinidad Limited, Charles Percy; and young entrepreneur, Stefan Justin Sealy.
Revaldo Rampersad, who will be entering Form Three at Rio Claro West Secondary, also attended the LEAP workshops in 2019 and had this to say about the online business training: “The LEAP workshops are really transformative and helped me a lot. In terms of the entrepreneurship training, it reinforced some things I already knew and introduced me to a lot of new concepts and skills, especially as it relates to owning and managing a business. I am still deciding on a career, but I have interest in real estate and agriculture. The work covered in the ‘Raising a CEO’ course will help me when I go back to class as well as my future goals of operating my own business. I am really grateful for the opportunity to improve.”
The Spanish and French camp was conceptualised by Brighter Prospects recipient Dana Persad. It was a two-week course which was targeted mainly at post-SEA students. Persad is a second year medical student and recipient of the Jerome Alexander Brighter Prospects medical scholarship.
Started by bpTT in 2003, the Brighter Prospects programme provides financial assistance to students from Mayaro and environs who gain access to advanced level studies and tertiary education. The programme has provided grants to more than 700 A-Level and 600 tertiary level students since inception. Additional support is also provided including academic guidance, motivational sessions and even internship placements.
The only requisite of Brighter Prospects is that recipients must volunteer towards the development of Mayaro.
“Because of the pandemic, we have had limited opportunities to volunteer and this is an important responsibility because it is up to us to uplift our community even as we improve ourselves. I suggested a foreign language workshop and received overwhelming support to make it a reality from bpTT, community leaders, educators and other Brighter Prospects students. Overall, it was a fulfilling and rewarding experience and the students showed enthusiasm and a desire to learn that will take them far when they enter secondary school,” Dana explained.
Ending on August 25th, the response to the virtual language camp was tremendous and 116 students enrolled. Because of the number of volunteers, there were enough tutors to form smaller study groups that gave the students more focused and individual attention. Participants learnt about local Spanish and French influences and derived a basic introduction to the languages.
Looking forward to beginning her secondary education in September, Haley Stewart was inspired by the language camp, “I really learnt a lot and the tutors made each session fun and exciting. It was very interactive and I learnt topics like the Spanish and French alphabets and numbers. I know that when I start Form One, I will be ahead in class and I will share the knowledge that I got from this workshop. I’m really grateful to bpTT and I will work hard so that one day I will get a Brighter Prospects scholarship as well.”